Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Chosing Foster Homes

Above photos show a nest of three borders. Note the percentage of greens being fed to these banded six day old chicks!

Compare the non-color fed Stafford to the color fed Stafford.

Nest of two borders and a fostered German Roller

German Rollers Fostered by adding another nest.

Best Chick Placement

it is very helpful to set a number of hens of the same kind at the same time so that if a foster home is needed you have several with chicks of the same size to choose from. At times, the choices are slim, as when this Stafford chick pictured needed a home, the only one available was a German Roller nest. Either it went in with two roller chicks or it would likely be lost. Notice the difference in the light colored fostered Stafford chick who did not get color fed and the color fed Stafford chick. The fostered Stafford chick's flight feathers will not color this year but the body feathers will color just fine. I might be lucky on this one as maybe it will be mosaic and then it could still be show material. To make sure the flight feathers get colored, I try to foster color fed birds to color fed nests.

On another occasion, I needed a place for a roller chick and the only likely foster was a border. It actually worked out fine as the border mom is a great feeder and the cock helps her keep up. Border hens feed more variety and less straight hard boiled egg and egg food than the roller hens but the roller and other kinds of chicks will grow just fine on what the border selectively feeds. The roundness of the head on the border chick in the foreground is very striking!

However, my experience with border chicks is that they do not grow well when fostered to any canary other than a border. Rollers feed lots of egg and egg food and in my experience, that does not agree with the border chicks digestive system. The best foster for a border is another border.

Today, I needed a place for two roller chicks not quite banded and I have bigger and smaller but not their size. I could put them in with the larger ones but the risk is great that they will get buried under the two larger chicks and be killed. Likewise, they are way to big to place in a nest with newborn chicks. With no good alternatives, I placed a second nest in the cage and the foster mom and dad are taking turns feeding both nests!


Leng said...

The size difference between the roller and the border chicks is amazing!

Neat trick putting a second nest beside the original. How are the foster chicks doing?

Linda Hogan said...

Putting the second nest in worked great but that was also an outstanding feeding pair.

However, the age difference was so great that after 4 days the larger chicks were so close to leaving the nest that they started nest switching and since the younger chicks had just been banded,they were way smaller than the other chicks so I had to place them in a new foster home with a feeding pair who already were feeding a nest of three banded an some bigger but now they more closely matched them in size than when they were newborns.

Anonymous said...


Linda Hogan said...

Weaned birds love soft bread. Once a day I feed it. Besides calories it help tame them!